Tech Lending Community fund

Two people smiling and pointing to a tablet donated to the Tech Lending Community
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The Tech Lending Community Fund

What would you do if you didn’t have access to the internet? Think of how much you rely on tech day to day to book appointments, contact loved ones or just relax. That’s the reality for over 7 million people in the UK who are ‘digitally excluded’, meaning they have no access to a device or the internet.

The Tech Lending Community (TLC) keeps tech in use for longer while tackling digital exclusion, lending tablets and providing free data to people in temporary accommodation, including survivors of domestic abuse, refugees, asylum seekers and those at risk of homelessness.

In the first phase, a £400,000 grant fund supported five charity partners to set up as tablet-lending hubs. Now, with a second phase and an additional £400,000 fund, TLC is continuing to support those who are digitally excluded by supporting three charities, Thames Reach, Refuge and Centrepoint to lend second-hand devices.

Why the flip is lending so useful?

By using a lending model, one tablet can be used to help multiple people lacking access to a device to get online, whether that’s to connect with friends and family, access vital services or explore their hobbies. It also supports the charities we work with to provide additional digital services within temporary accommodation, such as delivering digital skills workshops and wider training.

We’ve also rehomed over 18,000 smartphones to people facing digitally exclusion through Community Calling, another partnership with Virgin Media O2 set up during covid-19 pandemic in 2020.

What difference did we make?

Social impact:

48 temporary accommodation services received TLC tablets and as a result, over 760 people loaned a second-hand device. The tablets and free data provide tangible social outcomes for users such as:

  • Online learning
  • Healthcare support
  • Job applications
  • Reconnecting with family
  • Exploring hobbies – from creating podcasts to writing poetry!

Environmental impact:

The UK creates the second-highest amount of e-waste globally and millions of devices sit unused in drawers, storage units and warehouses.

TLC reduces e-waste via the use of second-hand tech, saving carbon, water and scarce resources. It also helps highlight the powerful role second-hand tech and loaning can have on those facing digital exclusion.

764 people were digitally connected thanks to lent second-hand tech.

Meet the charities we’re supporting in 2024

Homelessness charity Thames Reach, provide emergency hostels, day services, supported housing and employment, training and education schemes across London. The funding has provided Thames Reach with 570 tablets and built upon their existing digital literacy skills programme.

Refuge is a nationwide charity supporting women and children seeking refuge from domestic abuse, including refugees and asylum seekers, and those at risk of homelessness. The charity established a Tech Abuse and Empowerment programme in 2017 to increase safety, confidence, and digital knowledge amongst those they support. Refuge has received 250 tablets to help women and children to access online services, education, training and entertainment.

Centrepoint is charity supporting young people at risk of homelessness and provide the expert support and secure housing that young people need to reclaim their dreams and have a future beyond homelessness. They have received 250 devices to lend out as well to use in a variety of workshops.

What's next for TLC?

We’ll be funding a further 12 months of support to two TLC Hubs from the first phase, Thames Reach and Refuge, as well as creating a new tech lending hub with nationwide youth homelessness charity Centrepoint.

Two people testing a mobile phone donated to The Tech Lending Community Fund

Does your business have corporate tablets sitting unused?

We’d love to expand our network of Tech Lending Hubs. To do so, we need to be able to provide more second-hand tablets. Got spare devices sat collecting dust? We’ll take them off your hands!

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